“From the perspective of Hungary’s sustainable development, it is important for the production-based economy established in the country since 2010 to become an economy that is based on know-how and innovation”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stressed before Parliament’s Sustainable Development Committee on Monday in Budapest.

“If we are not successful in this, the country could lose the competitive advantage it has achieved in recent years”, Mr. Szijjártó added, stressing that in the interests of a successful transition Hungary wants to become one of Europe’s leading countries with relation to the digital transformation and applying the innovation of the Internet of Things (IoT), meaning the network of devices that are capable of communicating with each other.

According to the Minister, the transition of the automotive industry represents the watershed with relation to the sustainability of the country’s economic growth, and accordingly the Government is doing everything possible to successfully shift the sector, which is the backbone of the Hungarian economy, into the new, innovative economic era.

Mr. Szijjártó stressed that the application of innovative technologies determines the success of a national economy, and for this reason it is important for Hungary to be at the forefront of digital development thanks to the Irinyi Plan and the Digital Prosperity Programme. He explained that the Government is striving to assure that Hungary plays a leading role in the development and everyday proliferation of 5G technology within the region, adding that the development of this technology also determines the direction of development of self-driven vehicles.

The Minister told the Committee that Hungary will be reporting on its results relating to the realisation of UN sustainable development goals for the first time in New York next week in the form of a so-called voluntary national review. Water and migration will also be priority topics at the event, and Mr. Szijjártó pointed out that tensions relating to water, in the background of which lie population growth, climate change and political reasons, affect 2 billion people worldwide.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade emphasised that countries that are committed to protecting against climate change, and which have a high level of experience within the field of water management, will play an important role in setting a favourable direction for the technological and political processes of the upcoming period. According to Mr. Szijjártó, Hungary is one such country, pointing out that Hungary was the first in the European Union to ratify the Kyoto Agreement, and that the World Water Congress will once again be hosted by Hungary in 2019.

The Minister also spoke about the country’s energy situation, highlighting the fact that nuclear energy is a cheap, clean and safe source of energy, which currently provides 40 percent of the country’s energy requirements, and that this ratio will increase significantly following the expansion of the Paks Nuclear Power plant. He also pointed out that the generation of nuclear energy is also required for the preservation of current low electricity prices.

Mr. Szijjártó explained that 60-65 million people worldwide are affected by migration, and a significant majority of these people are forced to leave their homes because of problems relating to water scarcity. This number will continue to increase, according to the Minister, who said Hungary could help solve the situation through its wide-ranging experience within the field of water management.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)